The overarching aim of English at Wheeler Primary School is to promote high standards of literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the written and spoken word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.
The 2014 National Curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:
- read easily, fluently and with good understanding
- develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
- acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
- appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
- write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
- use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
- are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.
The national curriculum for English reflects the importance of spoken language in pupils’ development across the whole curriculum – cognitively, socially and linguistically. Spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing.
The quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak is vital for developing their vocabulary and grammar, and their understanding of reading and writing. Therefore teachers at Wheeler ensure the continual development of pupils’ confidence and competence in spoken language and listening skills.
At Wheeler we aim to support pupils in developing a capacity to explain their understanding of books and other reading material, and to prepare their ideas before they write. Pupils are assisted in making their thinking clear to themselves, as well as to others. Teachers ensure that pupils build secure understanding by using discussion to probe and remedy misconceptions. Pupils are also taught to understand and use the conventions of discussion and debate, at an age appropriate level.
Reading at Wheeler
At Wheeler Primary School, all teachers are committed, passionate and driven to ensure that all children become proficient readers by the end of Key Stage One. We are determined that every pupil will learn to read, regardless of their background, needs or abilities and that all pupils, including the weakest readers, will make sufficient progress to meet or exceed age-related expectations. Children at Wheeler Primary School will secure automatic decoding skills and progress from ‘learning to read’ to ‘reading to learn’ for purpose and pleasure.
The aims of our Phonics approach are to:
- Ensure all pupils make speedy progress in phonics and reading, through a high-quality systematic and synthetic phonics programme (Little Wandle) and that it is followed with rigour and fidelity.
- Ensure the pace of the phonics programme is maintained so that children become fluent, independent readers by the end of Year 1.
- Ensure children’s reading books show a cumulative progression in phonics knowledge that match the grapheme-phoneme correspondences they know and plenty of opportunities are given to practise to support decoding skills.
High-quality Phonics at Wheeler Primary School is implemented through the Little Wandle (Revised Letters and Sounds) Programme. Our key principle is ‘Keep Up not Catch Up’. Phonics is taught as a whole class approach for between 14 and 25 minutes a day (dependant on the age of the children.) The lesson follows a 4 part structure: Revisit/review, teach, practise and apply. Any gaps in knowledge are carefully tracked through rigorous assessment and monitoring and gaps are addressed through additional support (extra to whole class phonics sessions) from the start of the year, for children to ‘keep up’ with their peers.
Early Reading Books
We follow the ‘Big Cat’ reading book scheme. These books are fully decodable and are aligned to the Little Wandle Programme. Teachers carefully allocate reading books which support the delivery, pace and progression on a weekly basis, ensuring that children only read books with graphemes that they already know.
National Phonic Screening Check
All children in Year 1 will be screened using the National Assessment materials in the Summer term. If a child in Year 1 does not reach the required level, then additional support will be put in place in order for the child to make accelerated progress with their reading. They will be retested when they are in Year 2. This data will be submitted to the Local Authority.
Supporting parents in understanding Phonics at Wheeler
The resources on this page will help you support your child with saying their sounds and writing their letters. There are also some useful videos so you can see how they are taught at school and feel confident about supporting their reading at home. Find our full Reception and Year 1 teaching programme overview here to see what your child will learn and when.
These three videos show you how to pronounce the sounds. Notice how the children don’t add an ‘uh’ sound at the end, so they say: ‘t’ not ‘tuh’. Use the downloadable information to help your child remember how to write their letters and say their sounds.
How we teach Phonics
The videos on this page show parents how we teach your child specific aspects of phonics in class.
Reading at Wheeler and Reading at home
Although your child will be taught to read at school, you can have a huge impact on their reading journey by continuing their practice at home.
There are two types of reading book that your child will bring home:
In the green wallet: A reading practice book. You might hear Wheeler staff refer to these books as ‘fully decodable’ this is because the book will be at the correct phonic stage for your child. They should be able to read this fluently and independently
In the red wallet: A sharing book. This book has been chosen by your child. Your child will not be able to read this on their own, therefore this book is for you both to read and enjoy together.
Reading practice books
This book has been carefully matched to your child’s current reading level. If your child is reading it with little help, please don’t worry that it’s too easy – your child needs to develop fluency and confidence in reading. Listen to them read the book. Remember to give them lots of praise – celebrate their success! If they can’t read a word, read it to them. After they have finished, talk about the book together.
In order to encourage your child to become a lifelong reader and develop a love for reading, it is important that they learn to read for pleasure. The sharing book is a book they have chosen for you to enjoy together.
Please remember that you shouldn’t expect your child to read this alone. Read it to or with them. Discuss the pictures, enjoy the story, predict what might happen next, use different voices for the characters, explore the facts in a non-fiction book. The main thing is that you have fun!
At Wheeler we aim to provide opportunities for children to write in response to real texts, and in response to real-life experiences. The programmes of study for writing at key stages 1 and 2 are constructed similarly to those for reading:
- transcription (spelling and handwriting)
- composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing).
In addition, pupils are taught how to plan, edit and improve their writing. They are taught the language that they need to effectively evaluate their work, and that of others.